How to write meeting minutes effectively?
Writing minutes of meeting is not the most glamorous job in this universe, but it doesn’t mean you can just scribble down anything you like. Also, assuming that writing minutes is the job only for Secretary is not entirely correct.
A versatile executive would have no qualm in taking the responsibility to write the minutes of a meeting, either in place of an absent Secretary or just be part of the company’s culture to assign any of the meeting participants jotting down the minutes. As much as you hate meeting just like I do, getting yourself familiar with the minute writing is not the worst thing to do.
Here are some tips how to write meeting minutes effectively:
1. Know the purpose
Before writing minutes, you must know the purpose of it. First, a report of meeting minutes is a record. But it is just not the type of record you write, print out, file and then forever forget. It provides a historical account of official business and operational decisions, and involvement of people making the decisions. It is used as a reference which is periodically, or frequently referred to. Sometimes, minutes of meeting can become a legal document for court cases.
2. Keep it concise
Keep the key information in order and make sure you don’t miss critical info. You only have a certain limited time and it will be impossible to write every single thing discussed during a meeting. So, keep it concise and compact. Take notes of the issues discussed, major points raised and decisions taken. Ensure your writing easily understood, and usable in the future. Keep in mind, many of the meetings require the attendees looking back at the previous meeting’s minutes.
3. Get right info, follow right format
To keep it short, here are list information that should be in your minutes of meeting:
- Time, date and venue of meeting
- List of attendance (and their position)
- Agenda of meeting – key agenda, details, and specific action plan, and owner/executor of the plan
- Name of person taking minutes (you!)
As for the format, there is no school of thought that says there is this specific format that you need to follow. What you need is a simple and user friendly format. You can follow the following:
[Name of company]
[Date, Time and Venue]
[Minutes prepared by]
[Details of meetings]
|No||Item||Details||Actions to be taken by|
4. Keep a record
Normally, after minutes are hand-written, they are transferred into a proper computerized document (e.g. Microsoft Word or Excel), properly restructured, save and printed out. Good and fast typists can immediately record conversation into the computer/laptop, where this requires less time for fine tuning later on. The minutes are then distributed among the attendees of the meeting, or those who will be responsible to take actions as per discussed during the meeting.
Samples of minutes of meeting to come. Stay tuned.